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Fruits of crime

Off-duty police officer thwarts avocado heist in central Israel

Man arrested while trying to steal 3/4 of a ton of the produce from a kibbutz

A car packed with stolen avocados, December 26, 2020 (Israel Police)
A car packed with stolen avocados, December 26, 2020 (Israel Police)

Police said on Sunday that they arrested a suspect a day earlier who was trying to steal 680 kilograms (1,500 pounds) of avocados from a kibbutz in the center of the country.

The man was loading up his vehicle with the fruit when he was spotted by an off-duty police officer who lives on Kibbutz Glil Yam.

The police officer arrested the suspect, a man in his 40s from the nearby city of Ramat Hasharon, and waited with him until additional forces arrived on the scene.

The suspect was taken to Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court on Saturday evening, where he was released to house arrest.

A car packed with stolen avocados, December 26, 2020 (Israel Police)

A second suspect was arrested overnight and also sent home under house arrest.

The incident was not the first time an avocado heist was thwarted in Israel. In 2017, police uncovered five tons of the stolen fruit packed into two cars.

The fruit has also been used as an accessory by one criminal.

Last year a 47-year-old resident of southern Israel stole nearly NIS 30,000 ($8,300) from two Beersheba banks, using an avocado. The man entered a Postal Bank branch at the Big Beersheba shopping mall in mid-May, and handed the cashier a misspelled note demanding she hand over the cash at her counter.

When the cashier appeared to hesitate, the robber spoke for the first time, saying, “Put the money in the bag quickly or I’ll throw this grenade.”

It was then that attention was drawn to the round, black object he was holding in his right hand, which he claimed was a grenade but later turned out to have been avocado he painted black.

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